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Hotwire?

m61376

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Any downside to using Hotwire for car rentals? Their prices for our upcoming trip to Phoenix seem a lot less than competitor rates, even with discount codes. I've never used them before so was wondering if there is a catch or something I should be aware of.
 

WinniWoman

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I could be wrong, but I think you have to pay when booking and cannot get a refund if you have to cancel.
 

falmouth3

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If you are a member at Costco (and probably Sams and BJs too) check out their travel tab. They have great rental prices. And unlike Hotwire, you just make a reservation, no credit card required. I book when I see a good price and keep checking back. If a better price comes along, I cancel the first reservation and make a new one.
 

Talent312

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I could be wrong, but I think you have to pay when booking and cannot get a refund if you have to cancel.

You are correct, sir.
I know a fellow who had to pass up a trip to Colorado due
to a funeral, and had to kiss his prepaid rental good-bye.
 

Passepartout

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For Phoenix, I rent off airport. The taxes and fees for airport p/u are HUGE! ADDED: Try Budget in Tempe. Under $10 taxi ride saves many bux. Can return the car to the airport.

Jim Ricks
 
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Laurie

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Also if you have to extend your rental, you could be charged exorbitant rates.
For the first time ever I recently booked a Hotwire car rental (cancelled a Costco one last minute which was good but not as low), and wouldn't you know it, for the first time ever we had to extend our trip for a week due to serious illness. Lost the non-refundable flights and got stuck with $65/day on the car.
 

Travelclam

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book very last minute and don't buy their insurance pkg

The downside is that you can't get your money back once you booked; because you have to paid with credit card on line for booking it. You can buy travel cancellation insurance but that costs about $25 and add that to your great Hotwire rate, it comes out to be similar to any other good deal car rental anywhere without having to paid upfront.

But, if you book just the day before you take off, that Hotwire rate comes down even cheaper. Last month I used Hotwire for car rental at Orlando. 2 wks before my trip it was ~$15 a day. The night before I flew, it was $9. Hopefully the day before you travel is pretty certain that you will travel and not cancel.

Another downside is the car insurance package you buy when you book with them, is not recognized or honored by the car rental company. At least that was with the rental company I booked through Hotwire. At the pick up counter the agent told me whatever insurance I got from Hotwire it's not valid; only the insurance i buy directly with the car rental company is good. Not sure if he was telling the truth though.

B
 

WinniWoman

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I have used Car Rental.com and always get a good deal and no payment upfront. Can cancel anytime.
 

Icc5

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Hotwire Rental

We've used them a few times and never had a problem or bad car. If I remember correctly you don't have a choice in the company the car is from so if that matters to you be careful.
Bart
 

djs

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I've used them for hotels and not cars; mainly because I kind of like getting off the Hertz bus and seeing my name on the board (not really that as much as just getting in my car and driving away). For hotels it has worked great; my brother has used both HW and PL for car rentals and been perfectly happy too.
 

CMorris72

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I've had good experience w/ Hotwire

I think Hotwire will make some refunds when it is an airline-related event which forces the cancellation. I had a hotwire reservation for Myrtle Beach but couldn't go when Spirit Airlines went on strike for a week, hotwire gave a full refund.

Also on my last hotwire rental I had a minivan booked w/hotwire and Alamo let me upgrade to a GMC Yukon for $10 more a day, so had a Yukon for about $300 for the week.

I always check the hotwire price and use it if it significantly better than booking direct.
 

Robert D

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My experience is that you can usually get a better price during high season by booking well in advance directly with the car rental company and continuing to check rates up to the time you go. I use SW Airlines and Priceline's website to see the prices of all the rental companies but when I find a low price, I book directly on the rental company's website as some will give you an additional discount if you are a member of their frequent renter program. Then, I check Hotwire inside of a week till rental date to see if they have a better rate. Sometimes car rates drop as you get closer to rental date but most of the time a rate you got months earlier will be a lot lower if it's high season where you're renting. When Hotwire's price is lower close to rental date, I then make a bid on Priceline. You can almost always get a lower price on PL than HW on both cars and hotels but it's more work since you have to make bids. Biddingfortravel.com gives you a lot of information about how to bid on Priceline and shows deals that other people have gotten for hotels, cars, and airline tickets.
 

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I've used Hotwire for last minute auto rentals and had no problems. I wouldn't use Hotwire prior to several days out unless the price was amazingly low.

With the advent of Autoslash, my modus operandi has changed to booking way out (usually with Costco) and letting Autoslash slowly reduce the price.
 
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